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Need your recommendation on $800 Home (Non-Gaming) PC

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February 11, 2010 5:53:15 PM

Hi all!

I've been out of the game for a bit when it comes to building PC's. Last time i built a system was back in 2005 so i'm a little out of touch with the technology. And when my present computer started acting up and fry's ran a sale on an Intel I5 750 + Gigabyte cpu/mobo combo, I decided it was time to upgrade. I've been doing my best to get updated since then, but there's still a lot I'm behind on. Could use a little bit of your help and advice!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week or the next!

BUDGET RANGE: (e.g.: 600-800) $800 (before rebate)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (Home use: Office productivity, internet, music, movies, media, light photoshop [Abode lightroom] and video editing)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED OR I ALREADY HAVE: Keyboard/Mouse (Logitech MX700; Speakers (Creative Soundworks 5.1); Dell Ultrasharp 20' monitor (no hdmi - only DVI); Two external hard drives (WD 1TB and 750GB External Drive (Custom));

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com, Fry's (B&M)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA / Socal to be exact.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes but Not too much. Maybe just enable Turbo Mode and do a basic overclock.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not really sure what this is and if i'll need it.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1600x1200 currently, I might look into 1920x1200 if i upgrade to 24'

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Not too much. Quiet PC is good. Might upgrade to 24' monitor once i find a good deal (but that's later)



Here's what already been purchased:

CPU/Mobo Combo: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor + GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Combo Deal was $200 AR (Fry's)

PSU: Antec earthwatts EA500 500W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.2 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "Compatible with Core i7/Core i5" ... $31 (via Staples/used $20 off $50)

DVD/Blu-ray Player: Asus 4x Blu-Ray Drive - $60 (Fry's)

Case: Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $44.99 (Fry's)

OS: Windows 7 64 bit ($65 through Ultimate Steal

Hard Drive: Decided to go with SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Total spent so far: About $400




Now here's where I can't seem to make up my mind:

Memory: CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A1600C9 - Retail OR G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail OR something else?

Two questions: First of all, how much memory? I was thinking maybe 2 x 2gb (4gb) or 3 x 2gb (6gb)? I thought 8gb might be overkill for what i'm going to use this PC for. Secondly, which RAM would you guys recommend for my needs? Seems like a lot of ppl going with the G. Skill...

GPU: I have no idea what to get. This one area I've definitely lost touch with in terms of the technology. Not sure what crossfire or SLI is - but I'm not sure if I'll need it if because i won't be doing any gaming. All i know is that i do want HDMI just in case i get a HDMI monitor later. But based on my needs, what kind of GPU do you think I will need? Any rec's for a card?


Burner: SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $25 (Newegg)
i do a good amount of burning (backing up picture, data, creating movies, etc.) I need a good reliable burner. Would this suffice or do you have any other recommendations?

CPU Cooling - Again, i'm just thinking about doing basic overclocking (Maybe enabling Turbo Mode). Should i go aftermarket on the CPU cooler or just use stock heatsink.


Budget available: $325 (+/- a few dollars)


Thanks in advance guys!

More about : recommendation 800 home gaming

February 11, 2010 6:57:49 PM

For general use an i5 750 is going to be overkill, but you got an unbelievable price on that. Im jealous.

You wont need much graphics if you are not gaming. A new ATI 5450 ($50ish) or 5570 ($80ish) will be fine.

Both the RAM kits you listed are CAS9, you should be able to find CAS7 or CAS8 for the same price. You should get either 4 or 8GB, not 6. You should buy RAM in pairs. For your uses, you will unlikely ever exceed 4GB.

Right now WD's smaller HDDs are one generation behind. A Samsung F3 500GB/1TB or Seagate 7200.12 500GB/1TB are faster (faster than WDs velociraptor 10kRPM HDDs).

An inexpensive Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus ($30) will let you do light overclocking and run quieter than the stock cooler.
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February 11, 2010 7:14:35 PM

Thanks for the rec's and the heads up on the HDD. Looks like many places are out of the Samsung F3's. Are they discontinued or something?
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February 11, 2010 7:25:05 PM

They are not discontinued, they are just clearly the best price/performance value right now so they are often sold out.
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February 11, 2010 8:30:36 PM

I like WD Black ove rthe Samsung Spinpoints.
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February 11, 2010 9:02:22 PM

Any reasons why you prefer WD Black over Samsung F3's?
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February 11, 2010 9:05:02 PM

They are both great, but there is no 2tb Spinpoint.
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February 11, 2010 9:43:17 PM

I see, thanks for the info. Hmmm, i think i'm settled on the HDD now.

Anyone have any other advice or recommendations on the other parts? (i.e. memory, gpu, burner?) I hear most of the burners are all the same these days. I wanted to avoid Lite-on cuz they're burned crapped out on me after a few years.
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February 11, 2010 9:54:30 PM

You don't need more than 4GB of RAM. I would get this CAS 7 DDR3 1600 RAM:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM - Retail $114.99

You don't need much graphics horsepower since you're not gaming. This one has HDMI out and more than enough power for your needs.

SAPPHIRE 100287VGAL Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) 512MB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail

Here's a very nice, low cost CPU cooler:

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler $29.99

I've had pretty good luck with LG and Samsung DVD burners.

LG Black 24X SATA DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM $25.99
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February 11, 2010 9:55:16 PM

I think the 5670 might be a little to high end for him. He's not gaming, why not go with a cheaper GPU?
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February 11, 2010 10:00:08 PM

I suggested the 5670 because it's a very nice GPU that uses very little power and runs cool and quiet. I also picked it because it can flawlessly handle any HD video source. Something it's little brothers the 55xx and 54xx series struggle with.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3738&p=3
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February 11, 2010 10:01:54 PM

Right, he listed movies. i thought it was a ms office build lol.
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February 11, 2010 10:09:27 PM

builderbobftw said:
I like WD Black ove rthe Samsung Spinpoints.

As far as I have seen, only WDs two new 2TB Drives have 500GB platters. All of the smaller models are 250s or ~330s and are not as fast as the F3 or Seagate 7200.12.
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February 11, 2010 10:28:16 PM

Thanks guys. As far as the GPU's you recommended, if i'm going to be doing some adobe photoshop and doing some video editting like Premier, would you still recommend the same card (the 5670)? We just had a baby not too long ago so we're doing a lot capturing/editing for videos and pictures as well.
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February 11, 2010 10:30:35 PM

That doesn't change my recommendation. If you're using the latest CS4 versions of the Adobe software then it can use GPU acceleration, but the 5670 is plenty powerful for that. Most of that processing power is determined by your CPU.
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February 11, 2010 10:31:56 PM

The 5670 will be great for all that kid of video work. You only need to get into expensive graphics cards when you want to play games in 3d virtual worlds (either first person shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Crysis, Racing/Flight simulators, or fantasy MMOs like Word of Warcraft, Star Trek Online and Dungeons & Dragons online)
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February 11, 2010 10:40:48 PM

Then do you think I can drop down to even a 5450 or 5570 - as recommended earlier?
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February 11, 2010 10:43:06 PM

As the quoted Anandtech article stated, if you want perfect HD then the 5670 is the cheapest card. You should read the article to see if your tolerance for imperfection warrants dropping down to a cheaper card.
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February 11, 2010 10:47:39 PM

I agree with dndhatcher. I would stick with the 5670 if it was me.
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February 11, 2010 11:06:30 PM

You guys are great - thanks for the info. Really appreciate it.

Btw, just out of curiosity...the whole crossfie/sli thingy - what's it for? I read an article somewhere that the mobo i have is not "crossfire friendly". Any thoughts?

Found the article link: http://www.hardware-revolution.com/p55-motherboards-cro...
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February 11, 2010 11:12:57 PM

Crossfire/SLI is just running two graphics cards on one PC as if they were a single card with dual GPUs on it. It is generally only used by extreme gamers that want to play the most demanding 3d games smoothly at the highest resolutions on large monitors. Most gamers have to turn settings down (making the game look less realistic) to keep the demanding games from becoming choppy.

It can also be used as an upgrade path for someone who can only afford an adequite card now and the later gets another which combined equal a powerful graphics card.

P55 motherboards can only do x8/x8 crossfire where AM3 and X58 motherboards can do x16/x16. The performance testing done at sever places, including here at toms showed the p55 lose about 5% performance even on the high end graphics cards. Its not a huge hit in performance, like that article would have you believe.
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